4 EQ Tips to Improve Your Mixes
Overlap is Okay! We've all heard the saying "every sound needs it's own space." While this is totally true, try to not take it so literally. Many times we hear this and think each sound needs to have it's own space in the frequency spectrum and nothing else can overlap it. We think that everything must fit between these rigid guidelines and nothing else, which simply isn't the case in the real world. Think of an orchestra, is there any overlap? Of course there is! You still need to have some some of the sounds fit naturally, but realize that there is some wiggle room for overlap the higher up you go in the frequency spectrum.
Use Dynamic EQ for Temporary Problems! If you have a sound where 250Hz is consistently sounding terrible, reach for a standard EQ with a bell curve and attenuate the signal. But what if the problem only occurs sporadically? This is where Dynamic EQ comes into play. A permanent cut lowers the volume of that frequency band the entire time, whereas a Dynamic EQ can be set to only lower that band when the problematic frequency exceeds the threshold!
Boost vs Cut? Boost to color sounds, not to make them stand out in the mix vs other elements. If you are trying to get your sounds to fit together in a mix, use subtractive EQ. Try removing competing frequencies from the less important sounds instead of boosting frequencies in more important sounds.
Avoid Steep Filters! Bringing things back to our first tip, 48dB/oct slope filters look perfect, but they don't sound perfect. Remember overlap isn't always bad. We need things to naturally blend together. These steep filters are typically only used in the mastering stage. Analog EQs don't even allow for such steep slopes. For example, most are 12 or 18dB/oct. For the most natural sound, try sticking with 12, 18, or 24dB slopes when shaping and mixing your sounds together.